Get your home “dirtier” (really!) with good bacteria. Try these 10 ways to encourage more healthy bacteria and better gut health.
By Danielle, Contributing writer
It seems every winter, with the onslaught of colds and flu bugs, we pull out all the stops to ensure the germs aren’t spreading. Kill them all, my dear friend Lysol! But, is it possible that we can live in harmony with our fellow microbes? Could it even be good for us?
With over 90% of our bodies being microbes, we are truly more of our germy friends than human cells. Wiping and spraying away the germs won’t kill them all; rather, they will likely kill the good bacteria with which we need to build our immune system. Between antibiotic-resistant super bugs and even the FDA questioning the usefulness of hand sanitizer, it’s time to make amends with the bacteria around us, and instead of planning their demise, welcome the good bacteria into our homes and biomes to build our immune systems.
10 Ways to Get Your Home Dirtier (With Good Bacteria)
#1 Ditch the Antibiotics
Antibiotics (literally anti-life) destroy all the bacteria, the good and bad, in your body, leaving you with less good bacteria to battle the current and any recurring bacterial invaders and subsequent infections in your body. Most bacterial illnesses will resolve on their own, and your immune system will be trained to detect and fight that bacteria in the future.
#2 Go Barefoot
We don’t only get good microbes through our digestive system, we can also pick them up through our skin. Going barefoot, especially on untreated grass and dirt, will allow the good microbes to soak through your hands and feet. It also releases the built up positive electrons in our bodies. This is called grounding or earthing.
#3 Toss the Antibacterial Products
Antibiotics are not the biggest culprit. Your skin is your largest organ, and we slather it up with antibacterial sanitizer and soaps daily. Go for a regular soap and use a natural hand sanitizer alternative.
#4 Switch to All-Natural Cleaning Products
You can make just about any cleaner, detergent or soap in your home with three ingredients: baking or washing soda, a good soap like Dr. Bronner’s, and vinegar. Add in a great-smelling essential oil, and you also have an air freshener. Plus, you will save loads of money.
#5 Use a Bleach Substitute
Instead of grabbing the bleach, mix up a bleach substitute to use when you need to deep clean. Check out these 10 Cleaning Swaps for recipes and ideas!
#6 Embrace the 5-Second Rule
Don’t be a clean nazi, and do not wipe everything your babe touches with Clorox wipes. It’s okay to introduce some germs and dirt into your system. Now, I am not saying to let your child eat bugs (unless that’s thing, I guess). A quick rinse in clean water will do.
As noted above, the dirt is one of our best sources of good microbes. There’s no better way to benefit from those than to plant and harvest an organic garden (inside or outside!).
#8 Bring the Dirt In
If you live where it’s winter 11.5 months of the year (or it seems like it) like me, you’re going to have to get creative (or cold) to get the benefits of the dirt outside your doors. Grab that sandbox, swimming pool, or plastic container and bring some of your organic dirt inside to play within the winter months. Yes, it’s going to be messy.
#9 Add Pre- and Probiotics
Consume foods or supplements with prebiotics, like resistant starch, and probiotics to get plenty of good bacteria in your gut, where most of your immune system lies. Read more about good gut health in How to Heal Your Gut: Research and a Plan.
#10 Add Fermented Foods
Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, pickles, and kombucha into your diet to naturally absorb good bacteria. You can try this Fermented Garlic Honey too!
I know it’s tough to accept that allowing good bacteria in our homes and bodies is the best way to fight bacterial illnesses, but it’s becoming more and more apparent that our battle against bacteria is doing us no good.